Fall prevention is simple and necessary, considering falls are so common among everyone—from toddlers to the elderly. While they are hazardous to everyone, it’s harder for seniors to recuperate from a fall. Each year, nearly 2.5 million elderly go to the ER due to a fall, and 700,000 are hospitalized. When an elderly person falls, it creates a fear of future accidents, staying in the house, decrease in activity, and a weaker body which, ironically, leads to an increase chance of another fall and injury.
Point Performance has addressed the issue of fall prevention often in our blog, and here we have compiled a number of our exercises and tips for fall prevention.
Are your medications causing dizziness or fatigue? Bring all your prescriptions, including over the counter medication and vitamins, to your next appointment so your physician can make sure none of them are interacting in a way that would be dangerous to you. While you are meeting with your doctor, discuss whether any health conditions you currently have would also affect your balance or increase your risk of a fall.
Add more lights or install floor lights on steps and in the hallway when you walk around at night. Remove any loose rugs or flooring that has an edge where a foot might be caught on, or have loose floorboards and carpeting fixed. Keep items off the floor in walking areas and move furniture out of the way as well. Clean up any spills immediately.
In the bathroom, make sure your floor is non-slip and that all bath mats have a rubber grip on the bottom. Use a seat in the shower and anti-skid mats on the bathtub or shower floor as well. Install rails to help hold on when you get in and out of the shower.
Footwear is critical for fall prevention. Slippers, while comfortable, are actually highly hazardous in a house. Heels, flip-flops and slides are also poor options. Full-support shoes that fit correctly, tie or strap the foot in place and have anti-slip bottoms are the best option.
We’re not talking marathons here, but some daily strength-training of the muscles that support and prevent falls will go a long way.
In this video, Haim Hechtman, DPT demonstrates some simple sit-to-stand exercises that strengthens the leg muscles so you can get out of a chair, bed, or car easily.
Balance exercises are incredibly important for fall prevention. Haim Hechtman demonstrates a couple of ways to improve your balance.
Julie Shein demonstrates another set of exercises using reduced visual input.